Construction Cost Index, Q4 2020

Construction Cost Index

(JANUARY 2009 = 100)

Nonresidential construction costs increased 2.2 percent year-over-year in Portland and 2.1 percent nationally. Our Portland index is 8 points above our national index.

Construction Employment

(an indicator of future wage and activity trends)

Commercial construction employment in the Portland metropolitan area contracted sharply in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Year-over-year construction employment growth has declined 8 percent.

Building Component Trends

(Q4 2020 vs. Q3 2020)


• Earthwork (3.5%)
• Site Utilities (2.8%)
• Electrical Systems (2.4%)
• Preformed Metal Wall Panels (2.4%)
• Metal Stair Fabrication (2.3%)

• Roofing System (2.2%)
• Cast-In-Place Concrete (2.1%)
• Wood Doors (1.8%)
• Plumbing Systems (1.2%)


• Gypsum Board Systems
• Alum. Entrances & Storefronts
• Steel & Metal Decking Material
• Steel Framing & Stair Erection

• Electric Traction Elevators
• Finish Carpentry & Arch. Millwork
• Fire Protection Systems
• HVAC Systemsy

• Reinforcing Steel Material (-1.9%)
• Deck Formwork (-1.5%)
• Install Reinforcing Steel (-1.1%)

Note: All other components (13% of the index) were flat.

Costs increased for nine building components in the Portland index this past quarter, while costs for three components declined.

Advice for Building Owners


Our Portland construction cost index increased 2.2 percent overall in 2020. Downward pressure continues as some trade contractors and suppliers work to rebuild their backlogs. However, due to pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains we are seeing significant increases for PVC, steel, copper, lumber and glass. This, together with losses in productivity due to ongoing COVID-19-related procedures will offset much of the downward pressure in the market. We recommend planning for project costs to increase 3% in 2021.

About this report: The Mortenson Construction cost index is calculated quarterly by pricing a representative non-residential construction project in Portland and other geographies throughout the country. Local employment figures are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For a more specific update or questions regarding this report, please contact:

Gabriel Fox LEED AP
Chief Estimator

Dan Mehls
Vice President / General Manager